Bifacial PVs leave list of US solar tariff exclusions again
Author: Carl Milner. License: Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic.
Bifacial solar modules will, once again, be taken off the list of photovoltaic (PV) products exempted from Section 201 tariffs on imports to the US.
From a document dated April 17, it becomes clear the US Trade Representative (USTR) has determined that the exclusion of this specific type of solar modules is undermining the objectives of the safeguard measure.
Solar panels consisting only of bifacial PV cells were exempted from the import tariffs in June 2019. Then in October 2019, the USTR announced that the government had revised its decision. The withdrawal, announced without providing an opportunity for affected or interested parties to comment on, was challenged by clean energy companies and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). They sought and won a preliminary injunction to maintain the status quo until the lawfulness of the withdrawal was determined by final judgment.
The latest determination by the USTR follows an evaluation of different comments received, and responses to those comments, and comes in consultation with the Secretaries of Commerce and Energy. It will request the lifting of the US Court of International Trade’s order preliminarily enjoining the withdrawal from entering into effect.
"The industry initially sought this exclusion because there is, and will be for the foreseeable future, an acute shortage of domestic panels used in utility-scale solar projects. Throughout this process, the solar industry has sought to find a middle ground solution that addressed this shortage in a way that did not undermine the objectives of the underlying Section 201 safeguard measure," SEIA said last week. "We still hope to work with the administration to find constructive ways to grow the U.S. solar manufacturing base and take full advantage of the opportunities the solar industry offers to the American economy’s recovery."
The safeguard tariffs on solar imports, announced in January 2018 by US President Donald Trump, are set to remain effective for four years. The duty in the first year was 30% and it decreases by five percentage points for each year the tariffs are in effect.